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Jewish World Review
Dec. 3, 2010
/ 26 Kislev, 5771
Normal has become the new weird
When I read that one of the reality television shows about bigamy is spinning
off a show where a bigamist takes only one of his multiple wives on a honeymoon,
I told the husband that I thought we might be ready for our own reality show.
“But I don’t have multiple wives,” he says.
“Of course you don’t,” I say.
“How do you know I don’t?” he says with a grin.
“Because if you did have multiple wives, you wouldn’t be here talking to me,
you’d be resting six feet under.”
My point is that weird has become so commonplace that normal may be the new
“Think about it,” I tell the husband. “When bigamy becomes so boring they
have to spice it up by pairing the guy with one woman, monogamy must be hot.”
“I see what you mean,” he says. “And we’ve been married for 30 plus years.”
“Exactly,” I say. “We are oddballs.”
A lot of the programs featuring the unusual are reaching their saturation
point. Take all the programs about big families -- multiples, quints, “Kate Plus
Eight.” They’ve had to ratchet it up with a show about a couple with 19
“Look at us,” I say to the husband. “We only have three. Do you know what
that makes us?”
“But don’t we need some sort of dysfunction?” the husband says.
“That’s old news. There’s already plenty of anger, violence, screaming,
yelling, foul-mouth vulgarity. I've heard that “Jersey Shore” show is so
rough it gives people nightmares about the cretins their kids could grow up to
be. Not bleeping our heads off puts us in the category of the two-headed calf at
the state fair.”
“But we’re not interesting,” he says. “Neither one of us even has a tattoo.”
“You’re killing me,” I say. “You’re making my case for me. Look at us.
Compare yourself to the men your age on television. You don’t dye your hair, you
don’t have hair plugs and you don’t tan. I’m not botoxoed and I’ve never shot up
my lips to look like a duck. We’ve not been stretched, tightened or
liposuctioned. We’re so authentic we’re hard to look at some mornings. We could
be like a new version of Fear Factor.”
The high point of our weekend is clipping coupons in the Sunday paper. They
don’t make ‘em that strange anymore. We either belong in a museum or on
I call a friend of a friend of a producer and pitch the idea. “It’s a reality
based show about a man and woman who are married, don’t cheat on each other,
don’t scream at each other, have never swindled, embezzled, been part of a sting
operation, are reasonably content and have grown kids they actually talk to.
They hold down jobs, pay taxes and putter around the house.”
“Interesting concept,” the friend of the friend of the producer says. “But
audiences would never go for it.”
“Too boring?” I say.
“No, too weird.”
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© 2009, Lori Borgman
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